Chicken run: The IIPM affair

(Crossposted on Kitabkhana. India Uncut, DesiPundit and Sambhar Mafia were the first to speak out and have been monitoring the situation; Gaurav Sabnis’ Vantage Point is here, Rashmi Bansal’s Youth Curry is here.)

This was the first post. It’s just a summary of what’s been happening; please do visit the blogs listed above for the full story.

It started off innocuously. JAM Mag, aimed at teenagers and college students, has a regular feature called MBA Corner. Some months ago, it evaluated IIPM, the institute run by Arindam Chaudhuri, which claims to be one of the top ten B-schools in India. JAM’s correspondent discovered that the rankings IIPM used in its ad were taken from the Outlook-C fore rankings in 2003. The C fore website says: “IIPM has been removed from ranking as we received serious complaints about the veracity of information given by them.” JAM asked: “So how can IIPM continue using these rankings, AFTER they’ve been removed from them?” JAM also reported that many of IIPM’s other claims were dubious, to say the least.
In June, Rashmi Bansal, who edits and publishes JAM, mentioned the story on her blog, Youth Curry. Among the responses it drew were two vitriolic responses from people who seemed to have fake IDs; one said she was an IIPM student, the other called himself Real Gaurav Sabnis, referring to another blogger who had also posted about IIPM.
In August, Gaurav Sabnis, who runs Vantage Point, posted about IIPM. He wrote:
“You all must have seen full-page IIPM ads in all national dailies, asking student to “dare to dream beyond the IIMs”. If one went by the ads, one could be forgiven for thinking that IIPM is the institute with the best possible infrastructure, faculty, and placements in the country.
Scratch a bit and you realise what a load of crap it all is.”
Quoting, mind you, from the company’s own ads, he noted:
“At the end of every IIPM ad, there is a fine print which goes –
IIPM conducts its own programmes in Planning & Entrepreneurship (a non professional course) and does not teach any foreign institute’s courses… The MBA/BBA degrees are conferred by IMI, Europe and is internationally renowned and does not come under the purview of AICTE, UGC or other state acts.
Which means the so-called MBAs from IIPM are not even MBAs.”

On 6th October, Sabnis received, and posted, a “legal notice” from IIPM that had him almost falling off his chair laughing.
(I particularly liked the lawyer’s demand that Sabnis “Refrain in the future from releasing any news item containing IIPM’s reference without the prior explicit written approval of IIPM.” Wow. So now colleges get to censor their own news? Even the PM can’t do that!)
On October 10, Sabnis posted. IIPM had been in touch again. IIPM, incidentally, has very serious marketing muscle. It appears it’s not shy about using it.
In response to Sabnis’ posts about IIPM, posts in which he’d raised very legitimate questions about the institute’s claims and functioning, guess what IIPM had done? They’d gone after his employer, IBM.
Writes Sabnis: “But apparently, the Dean of IIPM wrote [a senior colleague at IBM] a mail saying that the IIPM Students Union had decided that if my blog posts were not deleted, then they would gather all the Thinkpads they had been given by the institute, and burn them in front of the IBM office in Delhi. Yes, that’s right. Burn laptops!”
His superiors and colleagues at IBM didn’t ask him to remove the posts. They didn’t ask him to resign. But Gaurav, faced with a pretty serious dilemma, thought it through and made his decision. He didn’t want to remove the posts; as a citizen, he felt he had the right to comment on the functioning of an institution of learning. Nor did he want to drag IBM, an organisation that had treated him well, into this ugly mess. So, he quit his job.

11 comments

  1. This is an open letter written to Mrs Savita Sengar the Campus Head / Regional Director / Trustee of Rai Foundation Colleges (RFC) / Maharashtra Education Foundation (MEF), located at Foundation Towers, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai. We are writing on behalf of students of RFC now known as MEF and may be even known by some other name before this letter is published. Some of us undergraduate students wish to ask the following questions and request you to (for once) tell us the truth and come clean on each of these points. The civil society of Mumbai and the education community of India are entitled to the full truth. It is the duty of the Press to help us go to the truth. Respected Madam1. Why can you not tell us openly that you have miserably failed as Campus Head, that Mrs Rupa Vasudevan has (again) failed as the Admission Head and why the only person who was successful Mrs Surbhi Roshan the Placement Head has been transferred out of Belapur? Do you have no self-respect that you are still there?2. Is it true that Mrs Rupa Vasudevan (earlier Miss Subramaniam) was brought to Mumbai only to help you to close down Belapur campus like she did in Pune campus one year earlier? What are her academic credentials that she was made Centre Head in Pune? Why did the Architecture College close down and what is your own academic credential as Former Head of Architecture?3. What exactly is your Centre in Ballard Peer doing and why was the hostel furniture shifted to Thane in a secretive manner?4. How many of your Deans / Heads in an educational institution that speaks of global excellence in its seminars have a proper Masters Degree? We know you are incapable of getting Ph Ds except by accident e.g. your second in command Dr. Mrs Piyali Kar who lives across the street and does not teach even when she comes to work?5. What academic credentials does Mrs Neena Raut the Director of Film and Television courses hold except that she has some political clout that you are exploiting? Please explain the reason for secret visits of some of you to the Vice Chancellors of YCMOU and TMV? They also have a lot to answer for to society.6. Why did the most respected Mumbai University throw the RFC – MEF request for affiliation in the waste paper basket in spite of your public assurances that it would not happen? Was it after the slap on your face that RFC became MEF?7. Why are you offering Distance Learning Programs of YCMOU (Yashwant Rao Chavan Maharashtra Open University) and TMV (Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth) using full time facilities for over charging and pressuring students for fees when you cannot even pay staff salaries (watchmen) and suppliers bills (stationery) for two months? 8. Why are you not being honest enough to say that these (YCMOU and TMV) are distance-learning programs when you trick students into joining RFC – MEH? Why do you and Mrs Vasudevan continue to speak lies?9. What is the role of the other two Trustees of MEF – Mr Jarnail Singh (Class XII) and Mr Vasant Jadhav (B Com) in this full-scale fraud? Do they fit into any educational environment?10. Why are BERC students compelled to stay on? What is so special happening in Fashion Designing Department that NIFT (next door) cannot offer? What is the future of students in the Journalism, Film and Television area? What happened to Hotel and Catering Technology Programs? Why did the BBA Program die out?11. How are you offering an Engineering Degree/Diploma when there is no proper laboratory and Mr P Susheel Kumar the Dean has not yet competed his M Tech from Tolani College?12. What is the proportion or ratio of (a) Directors/Deans/Heads to full time faculty? (b) Teaching to non-teaching staff and (c) full time to part time faculty in your two campuses (Belapur and Bellard Peer)?13. What have you done for the Education Ministry of Maharashtra to allow you to get away with this scam? Why are the Department of Technical Education and the All India Council of Technical Education still so silent?14. What were students from Aurangabad – Bhopal doing at Belapur during the last examinations? Are their campus closed down also like Pune and Noida?15. Why did you use your Directors/Deans/Heads to harass and destroy the students who spoke up against you and even used Police whip to silence them? Have you no humanity left? Are you a totally conscience less woman?16. Why has Mr Vinay Rai started to come to Mumbai and yet not yet visited Belapur campus to meet faculty staff and students? What is so afraid of?Please realise that you Mrs Sengar (whose husband works for SONY and who lives with her family near the Belapur campus) personally owe us a public explanation. If a reply is not published by the end of October 2006 we shall do what the Student Leaders could not do. Their main problem was that they were truthful and honest. Do not call a meeting with your chamchas and police in attendance on campus as usual. Put pen to paper and commit publicly if you are even half a human being. If you have any self-respect left then you will close down the campus and go back to your domestic kitchen at once.Thanking you.Yours SincerelyErstwhile students of RFC who paid their fees but are now studying elsewhere and whose friends are still helplessly stuck with you

  2. I’m a victim! It sucked..it still does. I completed 4 yrs of so called Btech and still struggling for my degree. Beat it. I hope that feind dies!:p

  3. Mr. Vinay Rai have made mockery of whole education system in India……Earning millions through so called (NPO) non profit organizations i.e. the educational institutes, most of them are B schools. Have cheated IFCI, IDBI and huge no of students. Why can't we, youth of India stand against this Devil????

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